Data Supports "Driving While Black" Charges

A Houston Police Department report shows that Blacks are pulled over more than any other race.

Posted: 05/10/2011 03:20 PM EDT
Filed Under racism

Driving While Black Charges

Recently released data supports a phenomenon that many Blacks consider common sense: If you "drive while Black," there is a high chance you'll be pulled over.


In Houston, Blacks were stopped by police vehicles more than any other ethnic group in 2010, according to the report. Blacks represented 33 percent of the 494,000 people stopped by Houston police, while Latinos represented 32 percent and whites 30 percent. However, Blacks made up only 23 percent of the city's overall population, while Hispanics represent the largest racial ethnic group in Houston at 44 percent.  


Some in the town are not surprised by the report. "I get calls all the time where officers stopped [young Blacks] for no apparent reason and questioned them,” Rev. James Nash told the Houston Chronicle.


Though it’s usually uncomfortable to hear Black and police officer in the same sentence, police targeting African-Americans is nothing new in Houston. In February, a video was released showing several officers kicking and beating 15-year-old Chad Holley. Another video then surfaced showing an officer beating 27-year-old Henry Madge in a hospital waiting room.


In response to the report, police are once again blaming someone other themselves. Union representatives, for example, are blaming crime in Black neighborhoods. “Your higher-crime areas normally are in minority communities, and you have more units deployed there, so you probably do have a higher number of stops,“ Gary Blankinship, president of the Houston Police Officer's Union, told the Chronicle.


Though Blankinship may blame minority communities, the truth is that not all Blacks in Houston live in heavily populated areas of color. Whether or not the police admit wrongdoing, one thing is for certain: Numbers don't lie—Blacks are stopped more than any other race.


(Photo: Claro Cortes/Landov)